Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread 2013

Irish soda bread is really a ‘quick bread’. Quick breads are those made without yeast but use baking powder and baking soda as their leaving agents. Banana, zucchini, and nut breads are all familiar quick breads. But most people don’t associate soda bread in the same category.

Soda bread is usually made in a round cast-iron skillet and baked in the oven though I have seen them made free-style on a baking sheet (like a large scone to which they are a cousin) or in a regular loaf pan. Making them in a skillet is easy and, you can serve right from it to cut down on the clean up – always a plus for me!

Traditionally in Ireland, the soda bread has currents, rarely raisins. They don’t use caraway seeds – that is an American inclusion but the rye flavor works well with the sweetness of the currents and raisins. It’s especially good if you are serving this with corned beef and cabbage! It’s simple to make and delicious with a crisp crust and a moist, tender interior. Enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread 

  • Unsalted butter for greasing pan
  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-3/4 c buttermilk (or sour milk)
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1-1/2 c dried currents or raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10″ oven-proof skillet and line with parchment or waxed paper. **If you use a larger or smaller skillet, your cooking time will change as will the height of your soda bread.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs and 2 Tbsp. melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Do not over mix. Stir in the currents (and caraway seeds, if using).

Pour batter into prepared skillet. Brush top with remaining butter. You can cut on X to a 1/4″ depth if desired in the center of the loaf as some soda breads have that marking, if you wish. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, approximately 1 hour.

** If using an 8″ or 9″ skillet, start checking at 1 hour but it will probably take another 15 to 20 or 30  minutes to finish. If using a 12″ skillet, start checking at 45 minutes and you may find it is done. Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Serve with corned beef and cabbage or with apples and cheddar cheese.

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